Navy chief touts shift to information from might

Military service seeks to balance strike warfare with intelligence and data

After historically emphasizing the power of combat over intelligence, the Navy now says the country is experiencing a shift away from an Industrial Age military force toward a force propelled by information, the Defense Department reports on its website.

The move invites more balance into DOD.

"It’s now time for the Navy — and frankly the U.S. joint forces — to step up and start dealing with information in a much more sophisticated manner than they have in the past," Vice Adm. David Dorsett, director of naval intelligence and deputy chief of naval operations for information dominance, told reporters in a press briefing Jan. 5.


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In October 2009, Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, announced plans for an information dominance organization. Under it, the Navy essentially created an Information Age force and combined its intelligence directorate, communications networks and IT capabilities.

Dorsett said one of his top goals this year is to advance in the areas of processing, exploiting and disseminating information. In addition, he described partnerships to meet those goals. Specifically, the Navy is teaming with the Air Force in imagery exploitation and with the National Security Agency on cloud computing, cyber pilot initiatives and information management.

In the year since the reorganization, the group has been most effective in organizing its workforce and developing sensors and networks but hasn’t made much progress in analyzing the collected intelligence, according to the Defense.gov report.

There won’t be a one-for-one approach to replacing military force with new informational capabilities, he said. It will be a more holistic move.

"The Navy is taking a ‘family of systems’ approach to balance information and firepower requirements," Dorsett told reporters. "One of the principles for information dominance is [that] every platform needs to be a sensor and every sensor needs to be networked."

The intrinsic value of a balanced force — combining operations with improved informational capabilities — has been acknowledged by commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said.

About the Author

Alysha Sideman is the online content producer for Washington Technology.

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